This week, several sources began discussing what appeared to be a significant update to Google’s algorithm, although the search giant hadn’t made an announcement about the change. Now, Google has confirmed that it made an update to its core search algorithm, and that the latest changes are not related to the Panda algorithm update that is expected shortly.
Multiple reports indicate that although Google updates its algorithm often, the update that was made June 17 was more significant than many others, although Google isn’t providing any details and the specifics of the change aren’t yet clear. Some other reports indicate the possibility that this week’s update was instead similar in scope to the almost constant updates that Google makes to its algorithm.
The search giant said to expect additional core search algorithm updates in the future as they continue to work on improving search quality.
“This is not a Panda update,” wrote Google in a statement to Search Engine Land. “As you know, we’re always making improvements to our search algorithms and the Web is constantly evolving. We’re going to continue to work on improvements across the board.”
Google’s Gary Illyes wrote on Twitter that he “can’t comment more on this though, we make hundreds of changes every year, you know the rest.”
One interesting aspect of what has been reported is that many automated tracking tools, such as Mozcast, showed massive spikes this week in terms of changes happening in the Google search results. Initially, Dr. Pete Meyers from the Moz team thought maybe the HTTPS algorithm had been updated and given more weight, but Illyes said on Twitter that this was not the case. One possible reason so many tools showed a spike this week could be related to the number one Google search result, Wikipedia, changing all of its URLs to go HTTPS this week. This changed so many Google search results, which could cause the tools to spike.
Overall, it seems that what is known is that this was not Panda, not HTTPS and also not Penguin. It may instead simply be a normal Google core search update that the company isn’t providing any details on. We’ll be analyzing the situation further as more information becomes available.
It’s all about the quality (as usual!)
In this past update Google changed how they calculate “quality” content. While Google of course won’t disclose the calculation or parameters, it could be a shift in the relative weights of existing parameters. At the end of the day, it’s just another step toward Google’s goal to make life better for the user. Sometimes it may even be at the expense of using Google to generate traffic; some companies who repeatedly get hit hard from these updates are more prone to reallocating budgets to other traffic driving methods.
But it’s important to remember that for Google, it really is all about the user experience. Panda, Penguin, ‘Mobilegeddon,’ PageSpeed, Caffeine, the Knowledge Graph. All of these updates work toward that aim.